Fifty students will receive their white coats Friday from UC Riverside's brand new medical school, the first to open in the region in more than 40 years.
"Our students are not only great students, but they really wanted to come to this medical school because they really believed in our mission," founding dean and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs G. Richard Olds, M.D. told KPCC.
It's more than just building a new medical school meant to prepare students with skills needed for the future of health care, according to Olds. He says the school "selectively recruited students from our own back yard" to address Southern California's shortage of primary care physicians.
UC Riverside will also implement a graduate program in six disciplines that are known to be short of supply in the region — including family medicine, general surgery and psychiatry — in hopes that students will stay in the region for the remainder of their careers.
"It's a very acute problem. We are only part of the solution, but I think we are an exciting part of that solution," he said.
Despite the fact that the school was accredited 5 months into the American Association of Medical Colleges admission process, it received 2,400 applicants. Ultimately, it chose "an exciting and inspirational group of students."
"It has been a herculean effort to get the school not only open but funded. There's a tremendous joy on the part of everyone associated with the medical school," said Olds.